We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Grand central station and fare question

Greensboro, North...
Level Contributor
21 posts
55 reviews
Grand central station and fare question

Hi. I have a group coming to NYC on school trip. We are touring radio city in the morning and then Madison square garden in afternoon. I wanted to take subway to MSG by waynof grand central station to fit in another place of interest between them. I thought while there we would give kids time to eat in food court. Would this be a one fare trip (from first entrance to subway to MSG) or two fares (is there fare to get back to train in GCS after going to food court)?

I know there is a week subway card for $32 but I’m trying to see if we would be on the subway that much in the few days we are there. im Able to plan several events within walkable distance so subway usage might not justify spending the $32.

Thanks for your help!

17 replies to this topic
Queens, NY
Level Contributor
9,262 posts
16 reviews
1. Re: Grand central station and fare question

You don't go from Radio City at MSG by way of GCT. There is no train that directly connects either Radio City or MSG with GCT. It's two trains to go between each set of places, which is a little awkward. Between Radio City and GCT you might as well walk - it's quite scenic.

The GCT food court is not in the subway station, so it is well outside the fare area. It's a terrific food court.

Canada
Level Contributor
5,442 posts
23 reviews
2. Re: Grand central station and fare question

OP won't find seats for 30 people in the Grand Central food court at noon.

Bangor, Pennsylvania
Destination Expert
for Lancaster
Level Contributor
3,211 posts
23 reviews
3. Re: Grand central station and fare question

Do you perhaps mean Penn Station, not Grand Central?

Penn Station is directly underneath Madison Square Garden-

Grand Central is SE of Radio City. Penn Station and MSG is SW

Penn Station has its own food court.

Like Grand Central's you would have to exit the subway to get to the food court, however you would already be at Madison Square Garden so no need for another ticket until you return

Queens, NY
Level Contributor
9,262 posts
16 reviews
4. Re: Grand central station and fare question

Penn Station is a famously depressing, ugly lump of sadness. Yes, it has its own food court, so if the goal is purely to get lunch before going to MSG, it's a much better choice. But Penn Station is nothing to visit.

GCT is a glorious architectural delight and a great landmark. It's just out of the way on this itinerary. But not too far out of the way. A 15 minute walk out of the way, and you pass the 42nd Street Library and Bryant Park on the walk.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
2,664 posts
5. Re: Grand central station and fare question

Pennsy is good, though, and should have seating for everyone as long as it's not raining.

Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
1,329 posts
6. Re: Grand central station and fare question

Oh #4, your description of Penn Station has me cracking up! I've only seen Penn Station and not Grand Central, and yes, it's not particularly lovely but I did appreciate it had a Shake Shack. :D I look forward to seeing Grand Central on my next trip in June, though I'll have to use the ugly lump of sadness station a few times.

Flushing, New York
Level Contributor
7,778 posts
87 reviews
7. Re: Grand central station and fare question

The famous quote by an architectural historian regarding the old and new Penn Station: "One entered the city like a god; one scuttles in now like a rat."

Dallas, Texas...
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
25,675 posts
25 reviews
8. Re: Grand central station and fare question

Do any of your kids have walking disabilities? If not, I say walk from Radio City Music Hall to Madison Square Garden and take a route that lets you stop at Bryant Park and the New York Public Library on the way. It's about a 20 min walk total, without the stop at the Park and Library.

If you really want to include Grand Central Terminal (which is a fine idea as it's quite impressive) then it's only a slight detour to do that. It's too short a distance to bother taking the subway to GCT from Radio City. It may take about the same amount of time as walking, especially if you end up targeting the newer Urbanspace Vanderbilt food area at GCT.

Taking the subway from Grand Central to Madison Square Garden would save a bit of time, but you could also decide to walk and stop at Bryant Park and New York Public Library on the way. So this suggestion would have more sightseeing opporutnities. Radio City -> GCT -> NYPL -> MSG.

I agree that crowds may make lunch difficult if you go during prime time. How much time do you have between when the RC tour will end and the MSG tour will begin? What time is the break?

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
4,120 posts
48 reviews
9. Re: Grand central station and fare question

How old are the kids and how many? If you choose to walk, which is a great way to see more sights, you have to have enough chaperones to make sure no one gets separated. The streets are very crowded during the day.

Penn Station is the worst of Manhattan transportation, GCT, the best (thank you Jackie Kennedy). When you leave radio city, if you’re walking, you will want to see Rockerfeller Plaza as it’s right there. You need to look at a map. Although you’re thinking 51st, 42nd st, 34th st, and that you’re heading downtown, you’re not accounting for Grand Central being on the east side while your other locations are on the west side. If you mark these locations on a map, you will have a better idea of what your travel plan should look like

Queens, NY
Level Contributor
9,262 posts
16 reviews
10. Re: Grand central station and fare question

I have actually done some pretty silly things involving train transfers so that I could arrive at home at Grand Central rather than taking direct trains into Penn. It changes your whole mood.

Reply to: Grand central station and fare question
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted